We lived in Boston, NC, San Juan PR, and then lived in Mystic/Stonington the rest of his career. Of course in the end he went back home to California. He ended up Head of the Math Department at the USCG Academy until he retired.
He loved to teach Math - since accepting his role, he would never be a Admiral. Which leads to me- he couldn’t fully understand why he could teach so many and not his own daughter. Yes, I barely past Math. I remember one summer when I was little - my Dad went away for most of the summer- he went to Europe to be on the Eagle with the cadets. To this day when a sailboat is out to sea I can smell the ropes and reminds me of that feeling Dad is finally home.
Many a summer was going out west to visit his parents - even his grandparents. I hated the long trips and I should have appreciated it far more than I did. You name it I saw it - even the Kellogg plant-riots in Chicago in the 60’s we had to avoid just to get back home.
My Dad loved his math books and would read them like novels-but then again he loved Tarzan- Sherlock Holmes, etc But it was funny, come pay day we would always stop at the drug store in Groton- he was buying comic books for us, but the deal was he had to read them first. I always chose Archie. He loved his movies, could do one hand pushups, wrestling, football player he was, loved Boy Scouts even was a leader in San Juan and later in Connecticut. You name it, he did it.
Last year I flew out to spend some time with my parents. My Dad had been in a nursing home since February.
The minute I walked in the Director said to me he will probably not recognize you, he never talks about his family. I was prepared. I saw him watching old time movies, and I whispered in his ear “Hello, Handsome..” and stepped in front of him. He looked at me and said “ And who are you?” With a smile on his face. Saying to myself, Please God don’t do this to me, I have come so far. I stood as straight as I could, shoulders back and said “ I am your daughter.”( sounding like Darth Vader) He looked at me, and said “Cindy, I thought I would never see you again.” “I’m here.” I said, “I wanted to spend my birthday with you.” He goes August 18th. I cried and so did he. My Mom goes to my Dad I told you I had a surprise for you.
What I take away from my Dad is that he loved my Mom with all his heart for 63 1/2 years. But he also loved his children/grandchildren just as much. Including numerous Cats and Westies my Mom and Dad had. As well as his extended family, his Mom and Dad, his brother Bobby and his sister, Agatha. The only time my Mom saw my Dad cry is when he lost both his parents. So I too can cry a little.
I had an amazing Dad, with a twinkle in his eyes when he smiled and his laugh was always music to my ears.
I could go on and on the wonder stories I have of him. For some reason I keep referring to him as my real life Peter Pan. With a voice as Sean Connery when he would give speeches. To this day, I remember asking Timmie when did Dad start sounding like Sean Connery, did I miss something? Maybe it was the kilt he was wearing. All I remember from that day was laughing so much with my brother because he too would then start sounding like Sean. Laughter, it what will get me by. That he taught me well.
My last words to my Dad, July 20, 2020 was: “I love you. You are the Best Dad.” He mumbled something back, he had had a stroke but I know in my heart he said I love you too, because he always did, that I could always count on.
When I was in the nursing home with my Dad this guy was playing this song. I lost it. See I grew up with movies. “Wizard of Oz” it was always watched! I never have a tissue when I needed it. I flew into Savannah, and some guy was playing the same song on a grand piano they have in the airport. I go “You have to be kidding!”
So it seems perfect that I too end with this: “Somewhere over the Rainbow.....”